Actor Peter O' Toole was awarded an honorary Oscar for lifetime acheivement during the 75th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California, March 23, 2003. OSCARSPLUS REUTERS/Lucy Nichols REUTERS BS/AS
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Veteran British actor Peter O'Toole, praised for esteemed roles in classic films such as "Lawrence of Arabia," announced on Tuesday he is retiring from acting in films and stage.
"It is time for me to chuck in the sponge. To retire from films and stage. The heart for it has gone out of me: it won't come back," O'Toole, who is 79 and lives in London, said in a statement released by New York publicist Bill Augustin.
((PETER O'TOOLE and KATHERINE HEPBURN IN THE LION IN WINTER - JUST TO REMEMBER FOR A MOMENT WHAT REALLY GREAT ACTING IS LIKE WITHOUT COMIC BOOKS AND COMPUTER TRICKS - Karen))
O'Toole said that his career, which has included eight Academy Award nominations without a win, "has brought me public support, emotional fulfillment and material comfort. It has brought me together with fine people, good companions with whom I've shared the inevitable lot of all actors: flops and hits."
"However," he added. "It's my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one's stay."
Early in his career, O'Toole made waves on stage in several key Shakespearean roles, including an acclaimed turn as "Hamlet," before gaining fame in films such as "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," "The Ruling Class", "The Stunt Man" and "My Favorite Year."
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